Up The Junction - More Houston Crude Distribution Infrastructure On the Way

More than a dozen crude oil pipelines can deliver up to 3.4 million barrels/day (MMb/d) to the greater Houston area, with another 550 Mb/d of capacity planned, and as domestic production starts to grow again, a new round of projects is under way to build-out the region’s distribution pipelines, storage and marine-dock infrastructure. The developers of these Houston-area projects include a range of midstream players: from large, diversified midstreamers that own the long-distance pipelines flowing into the region to smaller players planning their first Houston projects. Today we conclude a two-part blog series on the latest round of projects and on the increasingly intense competition for barrels.

Because of Houston’s outsized role in refining and in hydrocarbon markets more generally, the RBN blogosphere has covered the region’s crude infrastructure extensively. For example: two deep-dive Drill Down reports (starting in October 2014 with Houston We Have A Problem, followed up with November 2015’s Stairway to Houston) as well as numerous blogs on similar topics (see Saving All My Crude For You and The Future of Houston Area Crude Infrastructure).

As we said in Part 1 of this series, existing pipelines into Houston from the Permian Basin in West Texas, the Eagle Ford in South Texas, offshore Gulf of Mexico and the legacy South Texas region can carry as much as 1.85 MMb/d. Another 1.55 MMb/d can flow into Houston from the Cushing, OK hub via the two Enterprise Products Partners/Enbridge Seaway pipelines and TransCanada’s Marketlink. Still more capacity is in advanced stages of development. In the second quarter of 2017, Magellan Midstream Partners and Plains All American plan to complete a 100 Mb/d addition to their BridgeTex Pipeline (from the Permian to Houston) and in mid-2018 Enterprise plans to start up its 450 Mb/d Midland-to-Sealy, TX pipeline (ditto). Pipeline flows to Houston (which are expected to increase by 250 to 350 Mb/d in 2017 due to Permian growth, according to recent RBN projections) are augmented by waterborne imports, which averaged 950 Mb/d between January and November 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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